Panthers Top 20 prospects

By Courtney Wagner


1. (2) Rostislav Olesz, LW,
Age: 20

Acquired: 7th overall, 2004


Overall, Olesz had a fairly good year in 2005-06. He was a member of the Czech
Republic’s bronze-medal winning team at the Winter Olympics in Torino and played
in his first season in the NHL with the Panthers.


Despite missing over 20 games with
various injuries, Olesz managed to score eight goals and 21 points in 59 games.
Even more impressive, three of his goals were game winners and one was


Olesz possesses strong playmaking
abilities and displays determination and maturity. He can be effective on both
the power-play and penalty-killing units and is aware of the defensive side of
the game.

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2. (3) Kenndal McArdle, LW,
Age: 19

Acquired: 20th overall, 2005


The Moose Jaw Warriors’ Kenndal
McArdle is in the midst of a highly successful postseason run with the WHL club. The Warriors faced
the Calgary Hitmen in the second round of the playoffs and came from behind in
Game 7 with a win to move on to face the WHL-leading Medicine Hat Tigers, also
making club history by advancing further than any Moose Jaw team had before
them. The Warriors defeated the Tigers in five games in the Eastern Conference
championship to advance to the WHL championship where they are facing the
Vancouver Giants. In 19 postseason games McArdle has five goals, 13 points and a +3


The assistant captain has displayed
character and leadership during his time in Moose Jaw and his offensive production
jumped by over 50 points in 2004-05 when he had 37 goals, 74 points and 122
penalty minutes in 70 games. His numbers were nearly identical this season. In 72 games he had 28 goals, 71 points and 135 penalty minutes.


McArdle’s hard work and attitude is a
big part of the reason why he is high on the list and he should have one more
year with the Warriors to work on his skills. With a Jan. 4 birthday, he won’t yet be eligible to play in the AHL.


3. (4) Anthony Stewart, RW,
Age: 21

Acquired: 25th overall, 2003


Anthony Stewart had a promising start
to the season after being called up to play with the Panthers in October, but
three weeks later was sidelined for the remainder of the season with a wrist
injury. In the 10 games he did see action in he netted two goals, three points
and had a +2 rating.


Stewart has good size at 6’1 and
225 pounds. He also possesses a strong
shot and a willingness to improve on his game. His offensive abilities have been
a question mark as to whether he can be consistent and have success in the NHL
as a goal scorer.


It is possible, due to the injury setback and lost time, he may start next season in the AHL, but might be able to break into the NHL once again.


4. (6) Stefan Meyer, C/LW,
Age: 20

Acquired: 55th overall, 2003


Stefan Meyer made the jump from the
WHL Medicine Hat Tigers to the AHL Rochester Americans this season. In 69 games with the Tigers in 2004-05 he led the team in scoring with 34 goals, 77 points and 104 penalty minutes. In 68 games as a rookie with the Amerks he had 12 goals, 28 points and
139 penalty minutes.


Meyer has displayed his offensive
ability in the past and should continue to develop his skills with the Americans
next season.


5. (7) Tyler Plante, G, Age:

Acquired: 32nd overall, 2005


After a stellar rookie season in the
WHL with the Brandon Wheat Kings in 2004-05, Tyler Plante saw his numbers drop
in 2005-06. He was named Rookie of the Year in the WHL last season, due in large
part to his six shutouts and a 2.58 goals against average — both records for a
Wheat King goaltender. He also had 34 wins in 48 games played. This season with
the Wheat Kings he played 60 games, recording two shutouts, with 25 wins and a
3.32 goals against average. Brandon fell four games to two in the first round of
the playoffs against Moose Jaw. Brandon’s lack of success this
season doesn’t all fall on the shoulders of Plante, it’s in part due to
the loss of Washington prospect Eric Fehr, Pittsburgh prospect Ryan Stone and
Columbus prospect Tim Konsorada. Fehr, Stone and Konsorada were among the top
four point-getters in the WHL last season and provided the bulk of the offense
for the team.


Plante is known as a hard-working goalie with good size at 6’3 and 202 pounds. He will return to the WHL with
Brandon in 2006-07 where he will look at improving and returning to the form and
potential he displayed in his rookie season.


6. (8) Greg Campbell, LW,
Age: 22

Acquired: 67th overall, 2002


Greg Campbell was a regular in the
Florida Panthers lineup in 2005-06. Following a brief two-game stint in 2003-04,
Campbell played 70 games in the AHL with the San Antonio Rampage in 2004-05 where
he had 12 goals, 28 points and 113 penalty minutes. In 2005-06, as a rookie,
Campbell dressed for 64 games in Florida where he had three goals, nine points
and a -11 rating.


persistent, two-way player,
Campbell possesses great speed and hockey sense. His strong work ethic is also a
big key to his success and should mean he will take on a greater role with the Panthers in 2006-07.


7. (9) Rob Globke, RW, Age: 23

Acquired: 40th overall, 2002


Rob Globke split his time between the
Rochester Americans of the AHL and the Florida Panthers in 2005-06. In his 18
games in the NHL he had one goal and six penalty minutes. During his collegiate
career at the University of Notre Dame, Globke was an offensive threat and
managed to record 124 points in 145 games. In 52 games with Rochester this season he had six goals, 15 points and 52 penalty minutes.


A strong playmaker with good vision,
Globke possesses a hard shot and is willing to play the body and use his
6’2, 210-pound frame to his advantage. 2006-07 could be the year Globke
gets a shot to prove he has what it takes to stay with the Panthers.


8. (10) Kamil Kreps, C, Age:

Acquired: 38th overall, 2003


After spending time with both the San
Antonio Rampage of the AHL and the Texas Wildcatters of the ECHL in his first
pro season in 2004-05, Kamil Kreps spent the 2005-06 season honing his skills with
Rochester. In his first pro season he combined for 10 goals
and 22 points in 70 games. This season with the Amerks, he improved his numbers
with 13 goals and 32 points in 61 games.


Strong in the faceoff circle and
effective on the power play, Kreps has good playmaking and puckhandling abilities. He also possesses
good speed and hockey sense. His improvement in
2005-06 may not be enough to make him a regular with the Panthers, but should
garner him a shot to showcase his talent.


9. (11) David Booth, LW, Age:

Acquired: 53rd overall, 2004


David Booth had been unable to repeat
the form he showed in his rookie season with the University of Michigan Spartans
— until this season. In 2002-03, he had 17 goals and 36 points in 39 games,
which garnered him the U of M’s Rookie of the Year honor and also a spot on the CCHA
All-Rookie team. In his sophomore and junior seasons, he managed only 18 and 16
points respectively. In his senior year Booth stepped up his game, scoring 13
goals and 35 points in 36 games.


An aggressive, energetic player,
Booth is strong and drives hard to the net. He should join the AHL next season
to adapt to the pro game and may be able to crack the Panthers lineup in


10. (13) David Shantz, G, Age:

Acquired: 37th overall, 2004


The 2005-06 season isn’t quite over for David Shantz, but can be deemed a success. His rookie year in the league in 2003-04 was stellar, a year in which he also led the Mississauga IceDogs to the Eastern Conference finals. But his sophomore season in the
league was less than impressive. He saw time in only 27 games and posted only 10
wins. He was shipped to the Peterborough Petes this past offseason and turned his
game back around. In 49 games he won 31, had a 2.87 goals-against average and a
.915 save percentage.


His strong play has followed him into
the postseason where the Petes have moved on to the OHL championship series
after defeating the Barrie Colts four games to one in the Eastern
Conference finals. In 16 games Shantz has 13 wins, a 2.61 goals-against average
and a league-leading .925 save percentage. Drafted in 2004, he must be signed by the Panthers by June 1.


11. (NR) Janis Sprukts, C,
Age: 24

Acquired: 234th overall, 2000


Janis Sprukts
has landed in the 11th spot on the prospect list. Sprukts has bounced around
over the years, including a season and a half in the QMJHL. His rookie season in
the league in 2001-02 was a successful one, he managed 35 goals and 79 points in 63 games.


Sprukts has played for his native
Latvia in numerous international tournaments and has enjoyed a successful season
with HPK Hameenlinna in the Finnish league in 2005-06. In 35 games he scored 18
goals, 28 points and had a +17 rating. His success overseas may be enough to
warrant him a shot in the AHL — that is if he will return to North America.


12. (15) Greg Jacina, RW, Age:



An undrafted player, Greg Jacina has
worked hard to move up the ranks in hockey. His first full season in the AHL was in 2004-05 with the San Antonio Rampage where he had 11 goals, 31 points and 150 penalty minutes. He split his time in 2005-06 between the Rochester Americans and Florida Panthers. He was called up for 11 games and managed an assist and four penalty minutes. In 35 games with the Amerks he had seven goals, 11 points and his 152 penalty
minutes were second only to Buffalo prospect Doug Janik.


Jacina is a tough player with a strong work ethic. If he can continue to use those strengths, he may see more games in the NHL in 2006-07.


13. (16) Martin Lojek, D, Age:

105th overall, 2003


After spending three seasons with the
Brampton Battalion of the OHL, Martin Lojek made the jump to pro hockey this year. He was reassigned to the Florida Everblades in the ECHL in
early October and spent the majority of the season with them. In 15 games with
the Amerks he had one goal, two points and 16 penalty minutes. In 45 games with
Florida he had three goals, 14 points and 40 penalty minutes. He did not see much time in the playoffs as the team was defeated by the Gwinnett Gladiators in the South Division finals.


Lojek is smart and disciplined on the
ice and is strong in his own zone. If he is able to use his size to his
advantage, he stands at 6’4 and 234 pounds, and play more physical he
should be able to be a regular in the AHL next season.


14. (17) Dan Collins, RW, Age:

90th overall, 2005


Dan Collins missed part of the
2005-06 with a back injury that required surgery, but that didn’t stop him from
improving his numbers from the previous season. In 2004-05 he was fourth on the
Plymouth Whalers in scoring with 46 points including 25 goals and 60 penalty
minutes in 68 games. His injury limited him to 44 games on the season, but he
still managed to finish third on the team in scoring with 49 points, 56 penalty
minutes and a team-high 26 goals. Plymouth lost to the Guelph Storm in the
Western Conference semifinals. Collins played four games in the postseason for
the Whalers and was impressive with three goals, five points and a +1 rating.


A strong all-around player, Collins
is effective on the power-play and penalty-killing units. He has had consistent
offensive numbers for the last few years, but nothing outstanding. He has
another year in the OHL before getting a chance in the pro ranks.


15. (NR) Drew Bagnall, D, Age:

195th overall, 2003


A junior with the St. Lawrence
University Saints in the ECAC, Drew Bagnall has enjoyed a solid collegiate
career. Prior to joining the Saints, he was a high-scoring defenseman with the
Battlefords’ North Stars of the SJHL and was named the league’s best defenseman
in 2003-03. That same season he was third on the team in scoring and had 17
goals, 64 points and 252 penalty minutes. His sophomore season with the Saints
has been his best. In 37 games he had seven goals, 19 points and 68 penalty
minutes. In 2005-06 he saw limited action due to a thumb injury suffered
early in the season. In 24 games he managed only one goal, 10 points and 32
penalty minutes.


Effective in most game situations,
Bagnall is strong in his own end and will also join the rush. He will return to
St. Lawrence this fall and will look to bounce back and have a solid senior year
with the Saints.


16. (18) Jeremy Swanson, D,
Age: 21

169th overall, 2002


The 2005-06
season has been a tough one for Jeremy Swanson. A former all-star in the OHL and invitee to the Canadian
junior team selection camp, Swanson has battled injuries this season. After
suffering two concussions with the Rochester Americans in November, he has been
unable to return to the ice. He played 11 games with the Amerks this season and went scoreless with 23
penalty minutes. In 14 games with the Everblades he managed a goal, four points
and 12 penalty minutes.


A defensive defenseman with good
strength, Swanson is consistent and has good hockey sense. He will look to
make a full recovery and have the chance to put in a solid effort in the AHL
next season.


17. (NR) Bret Nasby, D, Age:

Acquired: 152nd overall, 2004


A trade between
the Oshawa Generals and the Erie Otters of the OHL in
November saw Bret Nasby head to the Otters. Despite missing part of the season
with a groin injury, Nasby enjoyed his best season offensively to date. In
2004-05 with the Generals he scored four goals, had 17 points and 71 penalty
minutes in 66 games. In 2005-06 he notched nine goals, 31 points and 72 penalty
minutes in 52 games with both the Generals and the Otters. Unfortunately for Nasby
and the Otters, there was no postseason appearance for the club.


Nasby must be signed by the Panthers by June 1.


18. (NR) Zach Bearson, RW,
Age: 18

Acquired: 224th overall, 2005


Eighteen-year-old Zach Bearson has
four more years of college development ahead of him and he should be able to build on
the success he had with the Waterloo Black Hawks in the USHL. In 2004-05 with
the Black Hawks he had 18 goals, 36 points and 56 penalty minutes in 51 games —
doubling his point total from the previous season. In 2005-06 he was consistent
with 13 goals, 34 points and 73 penalty minutes in 56 games.


Strong in front of the net and in the
corners, Bearson does not shy away from physical play. He also possesses a
willingness to learn and works hard during his time on the ice. He is committed
to the University of Wisconsin Badgers for 2006-07 and should remain there for his entire eligibility.


19. (NR) Peter Hafner, D, Age

Acquired: 232nd overall, 2002


A senior at Harvard University and
captain of the Crimson, Peter Hafner was also the recipient of Harvard’s Ralph
“Cooney” Weiland Award in 2005-06, shared with junior Steve Mandes, for his devotion to the
game displayed through spirit and commitment. In 34 games played in 2004-05
Hafner had two goals, five points and 30 penalty minutes. His best collegiate
year offensively was this season, in which he had two goals, eight points and 24
penalty minutes in 35 games. Harvard was eliminated by Maine in the opening
round of the 2006 NCAA tournament.


At 6’5 and 210 pounds, Hafner
has good size and strength. Solid in his own zone he is a defensive defenseman
who will play physical and block shots to help out his goaltender. Hafner should
get a chance to play in the AHL in 2006-07, assuming he is signed.


20. (14) James Pemberton, D,
Age: 22

Acquired: 124th overall, 2003


A senior with the Providence College
Friars, James Pemberton had a career year offensively in 2005-06 with six goals, 15 points and 42 penalty minutes in 30 games. He was honored with the Ron Wilson Best Defensive Player Award for his efforts.
The Friars were eliminated from the playoffs by New Hampshire in a Hockey East
quarterfinal series.


Pemberton has great size at 6’4
and 220 pounds and is solid in his own end. He stepped up his offensive play
this year, something that should make him a more attractive prospect to sign and garner
him an opportunity to play in the AHL next season.

Missing the Cut

Tanner Glass, LW

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